Cupcakes are just about one of the most beloved things on earth because of their cuteness. Set in their colourful paper liners and topped off with all different swirls and shades of frosting, people cannot help but be smitten by them. I enjoy making and decorating cupcakes very much, but if you ask me if I ever really make them a normal rotation of my diet, I don’t, not really.
As with all the sweets I make, I eat only to taste for “right-ness” because I don’t really like eating sweets all that much. I am a strange baker that way. Though if you ever asked me to make cupcakes everyday, I’d jump at the chance fervently for as long as you don’t ask me to eat them. But these cupcakes- starting with the delicious white cake base, to the apples and the light frosting- I must say, are rather irresistible.
I like apple pie. I like it a lot actually. I like the smell and the taste of softened apples with cinnamon, and the ever so flaky crust. I love how the tang of the apples just kind of gives a little tickle, kind of like a jolt of flavour, mixed with the slight sweetness of the cinnamon and the savoriness of the crust. It’s absolute perfection.
This recipe is quite an interesting interpretation of the apple pie. Though there is no crust, the apple “filling” stay nestled inside a hole scooped off from the top of the cake base. My attention was immediately caught by this recipe as I browsed through the lovely Annie’s Eats blog and thought this would be perfect for my first cake flour recipe.
I think I’m taking a liking to cake flour. I honestly don’t have any idea what similarities and differences all these flours have, but since I’ve tried bread flour and whole wheat pastry flour already, I felt the need to see what the effect of cake flour was as well. Not surprisingly, the cakes became so springy and fluffy. I can’t think of a more proper word to describe it other than “cakey”.
I’ve always had a problem with cupcakes made from all-purpose flour, and how some of them seem to just harden into rocks once they spend the night in the fridge. But not these. These cupcakes remained soft even after I refrigerated them in an airtight container overnight. And the smell of them out of the oven… You’ll have to make them and see for yourself.
I rather enjoyed the whole experience of making these cupcakes, from the peeling, cutting and everything, right down to my favourite part- the piping of the icing. Looking at the cupcakes, you might think the recipe seems daunting or time-consuming because it looks like there are so many components, but really you just throw everything together in the end. Read the instructions below and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Apple Pie Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 3 cups cake flour, sifted then measured
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
For the apple filling
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar, according to taste
- 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
For the frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
To make the cupcakes
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
- 2. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
- 3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, letting the eggs mix well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine.
- 4. Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- 5. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
- 6. Bake the cakes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
To make the apple filling
- 7. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble.
- 8. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples. Mix well.
- 9. Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- 10. While the apple mixture is cooling, use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of the cupcake. Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture.
To make the frosting
- 11. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.
- 12. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.
- 13. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds.
- 14. Scrape down the bowl again, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
- 15. Top each cupcake with a swirl of buttercream.